More young women suffer from cardiovascular problems than men, heart experts have revealed.
According to British Heart Foundation (BHF) research, there are 710,000 women across the UK, aged 16-44, living with heart disease compared to 570,000 men, the Independent reported.
Professor Peter Weissberg, BHF medical director, said clear signs of heart complaints are going unnoticed by women.
“There’s a great tendency for women to ignore symptoms because they think of it as a man’s problem. Women are affected by heart disease and sometimes more than men,” he said.
Doctors believe the higher rates among women are due in part to their susceptibility to certain rarer diseases, such as coronary artery dissection, where around eight out of ten cases are women.
They warn these rare conditions are going seriously under-researched.
Amongst the conditions which young women are prone to – and which experts say need more research – are valvular heart disease, dissection of the coronary artery and heart complications associated with lupus.
The number of young women living with cardiovascular disease has remained higher than men for several years.
In 2006 there were 760,000 women living with heart conditions, compared to 580,000 men.
It is estimated that one in every four men and one in every six women die from heart disease.
Almost 180,000 people die every year from circulatory system failures in the UK – and 91,550 of them are women.
This higher number of women is not thanks to the younger cohort, however, but largely because of the high number of fatal strokes in women over-75.
Dr Martin Landray, an epidemiologist at Oxford University, says that one reason for a knowledge gap between the sexes is that drug trials and medical research into heart conditions still struggle to include as many women as men.